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The Weekend Roundup for December 27-28th, 2014

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As we approach the end of the year, it will mark the first full year of me working on the Roundups. As a result, I am again interested in any criticisms of the Roundup in order to improve it for the following year.

If you take a look at the Roundup just one year ago and compare it to today, it is way different. Indeed, it was thanks to the readers who made it better, but I know there’s got to be more to improve. Feel free to provide any suggestions in the comment section over the next few days.

International Politics

Overall

– Gareth Porter: “Why Obama Won’t Reach a Deal With Iran

– An AirAsia flight was reported as missing on Saturday night and the plane was not found so far

Middle East

– Due to the constant warfare in Syria, the country will face a serious problem in terms of food security

– The Islamic State is losing vital territory in Kobane, a city located in Syria, to Kurdish forces

– An Iraqi official accused the U.S. of providing air drops to ISIS forces; Whoa, that makes this even more complicated than

Asia and Oceania

– It is tragic to hear Afghan refugees are being blamed in Pakistan after the deaths of students in the school massacre by the Taliban

– Meanwhile, at least 39 militants were killed in Pakistan after the army fired air strikes against them

– On Jan. 1, the U.S. and NATO will officially end its operations in Afghanistan in order to take a less active role

– Good for Okinawa to resist the constant U.S. presence there through an air base that brought nothing but trouble

Africa

– Libya asked for firefighters from other countries to stop a large fire at an oil port

– Meanwhile, a Libyan official said militants in the western part of the country wish to capture vital oil sites

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– Raul Castro: “Cuba Will Not Renounce Its Ideas

– Speaking of Cuba, there is a wonderful article on Jacobin Magazine providing stellar analysis on the accord between the U.S. and Cuba and what the way forward can be

– With an occupation force causing major issues in Haiti, it questions why such a force is existing within a country that deserves better

Surveillance Planet

– Despite cyber attacks continuing at a power plant in South Korea, operators at the plant say they are safe

– Emptywheel: “Stellar Wind and the Intelligence Oversight Board Reports

Financial Matters

– Syriza, the leftist Greek party in Greece, will go for “fiscal consolidation” rather than run deficits should they go into power

– Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell,  explains how much the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are loving the drop in oil prices and are probably behind it

– David Sirota: “How States Are Redistributing the Wealth

– It can be possible to reduce the sizes of houses and still have a great life as evident through this piece

Labor’s a-Brewing

– Is it not funny how Burger King uses a king as its mascot while paying their workers low wages? It is if they just do not want to hide their feelings.

Politics US

Washington USA

– One of the disturbing parts of the Senate torture report is how music was used against detainees in ways we cannot imagine being used in a harmful manner; Of course, the report is just downright disturbing

– One lesson from this year is the low voter turnout for the midterm election, which reflects dissatisfaction among the public with the current system

Anytown USA

– On Saturday, more than 20,000 officers attended the funeral of NYPD officer Rafael Ramos who, by the way, turned their backs on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

– NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton: Tensions between cops and de Blasio involves the issue of labor contracts

– When Detroit went into bankruptcy, a civilian review board for police brutality cases was dissolved. Despite the city now out of bankruptcy, the board was not reinstated but the cases still exist.

– The memorial for Michael Brown in Ferguson was damaged by what is said to be a car, but it was rebuilt by volunteers; Some sick person out there thinking they can get one over demonstrators for defacing a memorial

– A spokesperson for the Ferguson Police Department was suspended after calling the memorial a “piece of trash

– The Real News covers activists in Washington D.C. demonstrating within a mall for justice

– Speaking of activists demonstrating, the removal of such demonstrators in the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., shows how the movement is also one under attack by corporations who use the police for their advantage

– We should be cautious sometimes with some peace groups as they may want their own version of peace involving war

We Don’t Need No Education

– Dave Zirin: “Lesson Learned: High School Hoops Team Disinvited From Tournament Over ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Shirts“; How…Why…*Sigh*

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

A new study found more residents in Colorado were using cannabis for personal use

The Second Sex

– Folks here know how dangerous the Trans-Pacific Partnership is. It can hurt all the non-elites on this planet, including women.

– Must have missed this, but Rolling Stone asked the Columbia Journalism Review to make an investigation into how it handled the report on a rape at the University of Virginia

Planet Earth

– Scientists in Britain hope to create biofuel while at the same time cleaning water from a mine, which may hold major changes should the project succeed

– Investments in fossil fuels may be in jeopardy as we head into next year due to a multitude of factors including the drop in oil prices

– After the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, environmentalist groups cheered for provisioned told to protect the environment. However, after closer examination, it is more of a mixed bag.

Mixed Bag

– Very insightful article by Louis Proyect, an art critic, on understanding art criticism along with Marxism; Even for non-Marxists who are interested in film, this is quite a good read

– I’ve posted articles by journalist Dahr Jamail before, but I really enjoy this article about his transition from reporting on the Iraq War to environmentalism

Break Time

Helicopter [Bloc Party]

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Brandon Jordan

Brandon Jordan

Brandon Jordan is a freelance journalist in Queens, NY and written for publications such as The Nation, In These Times, Truthout and more.

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